Re: Words and memes

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Sat Feb 09 2002 - 16:02:06 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Words and memes
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    On Saturday, February 9, 2002, at 04:38 , Jeremy Bradley wrote:

    > Thankx for that bit of trivia Wade. I always thought that they did. It
    > must
    > be one of those non-urban myths.

    The farmyards and the backyards and hunter's realms are moist with
    myths, of course, just as our cities are.

    This, from the Straight Dope at

    "There are two theories about how this rumor got started. According to
    the World Wide Fund for Nature, the ostrich lowers its head toward the
    ground in reaction to danger, especially when it's sitting on a nest
    (the female keeps the eggs warm during the day and the male sits on the
    eggs at night.). "To escape detection, chicks as well as adults may lie
    on the ground with neck outstretched," the Encyclopedia Britannica adds.
    Supposedly the ostrich hopes its enemy will mistake it for a termite
    mound or low bush when its head is lowered. Seeing as an ostrich is the
    world's largest bird weighing as much as 400 pounds, I doubt they fool
    anyone but the blindest hyena.

    Male ostriches use their bills to dig shallow nests in the sand and move
    their eggs around. From a distance, this could look like the ostrich's
    head is disappearing in the sand. That's the other theory."

    And I wish I had some respect for the boundless trivia I manage to
    maintain, but then, I hear someone else with even a larger, more arcane,
    headful of ancillaries, and I'm happy, for the moment.

    - Wade

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